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Spouses/Partners with Personality Disorders

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Tim3167 posted 10/24/2018 08:18 AM

Hi, new to this thread and poking my head in

Iíve been part of the SI club since 2007 though. I discovered a brief affair with a coworker. We went to marriage counseling and felt we did the work. We talked about bad boundaries and needing to feel attention. The next 8 or 9 years really felt great. At the beginning of 2017 I got the my feelings have changed talk. She moved into another bedroom and I did the old pick me dance. She seemed odd to me though. Like over the top happy at times but odd happy, like amped up. Over emotional at movies, and just during normal activities.

In May 2017 I then discovered some text messages with friends at work talking about hookups with 2 different male coworkers. Since then she has been going to weekly IC, started volunteering at and going to church. I did suffer through some bad trickle truth but she really seemed to stugggle with hating herself and experienced very low lows and didnít understand how she could do such ugly things.

I have struggled with never feeling I knew it all though. This past Friday night I threatened a poly and she just started spilling her guts and admitted a 4th guy that started before the 1st guy in 2007 and the he is the one that also started this period of hook ups in 2016. It was purely hookups. In fact he treated her like dirt most of the time calling her into his office for a bj.

So after she tells me this new info she starts having s breakdown saying she doesnít deserve to live and wanting to hurt herself. I contacted her therapist and he advised I should take her immediately to the behavioral hospital. They admitted her for observation for 3 days.

The first therapist she talked with there said she saw sign of bipolar initially. After release from the hospital she saw another therapist assosicated with the hospital also said she thinks itís bipolar and will be recommending that med treatment to the psychiatrist. She is out on medical leave for next two weeks and is taking part in daily group therapy.

This is all new to me and Iíve been trying to read up but itís also very confusing. All this time in recovery is been told her behavior was due to some childhood trauma and abandonment issues where she was just looking to feel wanted and that feeling was overpowering. Now this.

Any insight? I do reasonably believe there has been no infidelity since last discovery in May of 17.

[This message edited by Tim3167 at 8:19 AM, October 24th (Wednesday)]

Nursemomof3 posted 11/2/2018 07:19 AM

I am pretty sure my WH is Bipolar. How do you get your spouse to get help if they donít want it? Iím sure you canít but just wondering if you have any tips.

Tim3167 posted 11/2/2018 08:08 AM

Thatís a tough one.

For me my wife had to hit rock bottom and get told by mental health professionals she has a problem.

I think itís more the rock bottom that made her face it.

Tim3167 posted 11/8/2018 12:36 PM

For those whose spouse was diagnosed as bipolar as part of the aftermath of cheating, were you able to frame up the cheating and the person differently using the context of the diagnosis?

I've had such a hard time for years on here making sense of my wife's cheating in comparison to many of the typical female patterns of infidelity. My wife seemed to be a normal and reasonable loving person who turned to stretches of unimaginable acts to get attention from men with no regard for risk or consequences until I caught her...then tuned to periods of self loathing and a state of depression.

I honestly believe she felt that shame and wasn't just an evil person throwing me off her trail.

Anyway, now with the bipolar diagnosis I'm having trouble not seeing it I guess as an excuse.....but at the same time going..."well that explains a lot!"

Just wondering about others experience with this. It's so hard not to see her through those over the top actions with no self respect.

I will just add that in my wife's case she seems to be doing everything to embrace treatment for this as she says she truly does not want to live like that. Maybe that makes a difference.

xhz700 posted 11/8/2018 13:44 PM

For those whose spouse was diagnosed as bipolar as part of the aftermath of cheating, were you able to frame up the cheating and the person differently using the context of the diagnosis?

Nope. My ex tried that too.

Does she have long manic periods, followed by long depressed periods, followed by long periods of normal behavior?

OR... is she likely to fly of the handle anytime, but acts perfectly around others? Reacts with disproportionate anger and rage to minor situations?

Bipolar is often a diagnosis on the way to a personality disorder diagnosis. Even if she is mentally ill, it only explains, and doesn't excuse.

Tim3167 posted 11/8/2018 14:15 PM

She definitely has long periods of manic behavior and long stretches of normal behavior. The depressed states are harder for me to pin down. She seems to be really struggling with that now but I think itís just all crashing in on her now.

I have not noticed short term flying off the handle and acting differently around me than others. During those times I now know she was cheating like crazy she seemed just off...like too emotional around silly things like watching movies with disproportionate emotion.

This wasnít so much meant to validate the diagnosis but to talk about the process of accepting that as a spouse and understanding what to do with that.

Edited to add I also recall this odd state of grandiose like her shit didnít stink which is so opposite her MO, she has such underlying self esteem and confidence issues.

[This message edited by Tim3167 at 2:38 PM, November 8th (Thursday)]

xhz700 posted 11/8/2018 15:17 PM

Probably bipolar then. Is she on medication? therapy?

Tim3167 posted 11/8/2018 15:31 PM

Well sheís only a few weeks out from a suicide watch so sheís only on an antidepressant currently to get her out of the depression. Waiting to see how that takes.

Sheís in weekly therapist sessions and monthly appointments with psychiatrist. I think we are fortunate with our health care plan.

Like I say though, not saying all this is an excuse and sheís certainly not trying to say that, but as a spouse has anyone had luck reframing the cheating in your own mind?

xhz700 posted 11/8/2018 15:53 PM

Well, my ex was BPD. It is a different situation than you are in.

I think perhaps you are on the right track, and you should try to reframe it, maybe do some research on the effects of bipolar disorder. It's literally a chemistry issue, and while she needs to learn to cope better, what she's done isn't uncommon.

Same rules as others, watch her actions. See what she does, maybe give her some time to get back on her feet.

Tim3167 posted 11/9/2018 09:25 AM

Interesting conversation with the wife this morning in the car. I was telling her I was triggered a bit last night by scenes of characters in bed talking after sex. Just feel kind of threatened by that type of intimacy. It eventually rabbit holed into me asking if she ever kissed the main AP outside of when they were hooking up.

Just a bit of background, by main AP, itís the guy that started her two known periods of hooking up which then escalated to others. One time was for like 6 months, the other maybe 12 months. I would say about 20 times mostly all BJ except for 2 instances of intercourse on a work trip.

That background I feel is important to her response to the kissing question. So she tells me she NEVER kissed the guy. They just went right to business. I asked her are you sure because I was incredulous. She tells me simply because he didnít initiate. This is how she was with all the APs. She was ridiculously submissive always surprised anybody
wanted her and waiting for them to ask her to hook up.

This is the challenge with dealing with somebody with combined FOO issues mixed with bipolar. It is just such a terrible cocktail. I get so hung up on shared intimacy when it was just about that drug of being wanted.

Itís a bit funny actually. Isnít it supposed to be the other way around with the cheater saying it was only kissing. With mine it was never kissing with at least that one guy, just the other stuff.

Anyway Iím still processing that this guy that Iím probably most threatened by because of the length of time never even tried to kiss her. I really know now know he saw her which also stings.

xhz700 posted 11/9/2018 10:09 AM

I am not sure how to help you with that. That's what she needs IC for, to get to the bottom of why her behavior is so confounding.

Tim3167 posted 11/9/2018 10:28 AM


In therapy right now they are focusing on the deep negative feelings that she has about herself. She used sex and being wanted as a way to make herself feel better about herself but was never confident enough to really assert herself or ever suggest anything she wanted. She would sext them about what she wanted to do to them but not once was she the one reaching out to actually hook up. Always just waiting by the phone for that text.

I am starting to understand more clearly it was never about creating a connection with someone else. She just needed to be wanted and maybe a manic period let her lose herself to these compulsions along with blocking out consequences . Itís jsut hard for a healthy mind to understand someone feeling good from being used so badly.

Tim3167 posted 11/26/2018 12:04 PM

Struggling so I thought Iíd provide an update.

My wife is continuing with therapy and we are taking it day by day.

Early on in the stages of discovery it was all the normal questions like how many times did you cheat on me. The reality of the length of time the infidelity was going on has resulted in her honestly not being able to tell me for sure how many times she was unfaithful during the times she was manic. She has given me an estimate but says itís all very cloudy.

I must admit Iím already at times losing patience with her and her fragile mental state. I am still wrapping my mind around the bipolar diagnosis. For any of you with a similar experience with a cheating Bipolar spouse with a boatload of infidelity, have you been able to move forward with not ever being able to know exactly how many times your spouse cheated on you. Does it not matter at some point? I sometimes wonder why I get hung up on exactly how many times when the fact is she would have many more times if only they asked more. She didnít limit the times by her conscience or morals but only by not being asked more.

xhz700 posted 11/26/2018 16:43 PM

Does it not matter at some point?

Does it matter to you?

I doubt that she truly doesn't remember, she's likely still protecting herself. How long you wait, what matters, all depends on you. A bipolar diagnosis does lend some explanation, but it doesn't absolve her. If she was diagnosed with a disorder where she punched you while you slept, while it's not really her fault, you still don't have to take it.

Also, don't just stay because she is mentally ill, and you feel pity for her. What does she provide to your life that you value? Is it worth it if she can learn to manage some of these issues?

As impossible as it sounds, you need to separate your heart from your head and make a logical decision that's right for you and your life.

xhz700 posted 11/26/2018 16:46 PM

I doubt that she truly doesn't remember, she's likely still protecting herself.

I want to clarify something that I said. I don't mean the above in a selfish way. More like a LITERAL protecting herself way. As in, would you lie to save yourself from a killer? Of course you would.

This is likely how she feels about the truth and shame she feels about herself. She has to do a lot of digging in order to get to the point that she sees the importance in being honest and vulnerable.

Has she seen a psychiatrist? Is she on medication yet?

Tim3167 posted 11/26/2018 18:29 PM

Thanks for the response.

It certainly is possible that she is still protecting herself because that has been her MO all along. Itís also possible that she hooked up so often over that year that she really has no idea of an exact number. I think maybe Iím at the point of acceptance of an estimate so I at least have a general concept of what she was up to. Like I said it could have been ten fold had they asked more so 5 or ten less isnít really a victory of character.

I do feel there is love between us. I still feel a connection when she is her healthy self and I like our life together. I mean obviously itís kinda a mess right now.

She is seeing a psychiatrist monthly and has a follow up this week. She also is seeing a new therapist weekly. She is only on antidepressants currently but hopes to discuss meds at this weeks appointment.

xhz700 posted 11/27/2018 09:16 AM

She is seeing a psychiatrist monthly and has a follow up this week. She also is seeing a new therapist weekly.

That's excellent. Now, unfortunately, you wait to see if things get better.

My ex was BPD, which is a very different animal. She was never going to get any better, but with bipolar, there is a good chance that your wife can improve her behavior and manage her symptoms.

Try to be calm and patient, this won't happen overnight. Don't be her therapist, leave her mental health work to her. It's on you to decide what's too much. No one would blame you for leaving with what you have already dealt with, you could leave with your head held high at this point.

Good luck.

ThisIsSoLonely posted 12/2/2018 20:31 PM

I know this isn't a personality disorder but I was hoping to find some help on how to handle this. My WH sought treatment in IC - he's been treating for the last month and he has been diagnosed with major depressive disorder. This is a relief (I have felt he's suffered from this for years and I'm glad he's getting help) and a curse (how do I deal with this in light of his LTA - 1.5 years - and how I feel). He initially went to IC due to the A but I urged him to talk about his mental health and unbelievably he did.

How do you handle this - the period where you are waiting/hoping/whatever that medications work? The rehashing of the A has sent him spiraling downward, and while I don't like seeing that, I really don't know what to do?

Anyone discover your WS has a mental health condition post-A - so you are now trying to deal with the A AND them getting the help they need?

xhz700 posted 12/3/2018 15:26 PM

@ThisIsSoLonely, The only real answer is to take care of yourself.

Don't involve yourself too much in his treatment. You can't fix him, you can't make things easier for him.

Have you gone to a psychiatrist appointment with him?

Broken5152 posted 12/9/2018 06:28 AM


[This message edited by Broken5152 at 9:05 AM, January 11th (Friday)]

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